Public event: Learning languages for a healthy brain

The Bilingualism in The Brain lab is pleased to invite everyone to a public event on 21st February – International Mother Language Day – at the University of Reading. The title of the event is “Learning languages for a healthy brain”, and it will be specifically addressed to non-experts in bilingualism!

Date: 21 February 2019 

Time: 20:00-22:00

Location: Room G01, Building L022, London Road campus, University of Reading, Reading

Book your place here

About this event: Evidence increasingly suggests that speaking more than one language is good for your mind and brain. This is because bilinguals must constantly choose which language they will use each time, while preventing the non-relevant language from interfering. Inevitably, this “trains” the brain to be more flexible when switching between languages. This process not only causes the structure of the brain to physically change, but it also applies to a variety of other tasks that have nothing to do with language learning and using, and it might even prove beneficial in older age.

In this event, researchers from the Bilingualism in the Brain lab at the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism will explain what language learning can do for you, and the importance of its effects for young and older healthy learners and users of additioanl languages, as well as bilingual patients with neurodegeneration. This will be done with interactive discussions and activities which will explain recent discoveries in the field.

For more information related to the work in our lab, check this post from the blog of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism at the University of Reading, as well as the YouTube video below

 

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Graduation day!

Last week our lab attended the graduation of our first alumnus, Vincent Deluca! Here are some pictures of that nice day!

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Apart from Vince, that day marked the graduation of Holly Davies (MSc in Speech and Language Therapy) and Einas Alharbi (MSc in Language Sciences), former MScs students affiliated with our lab, and also Najla Alrwaita (MSc in Language Sciences), one of our new PhD students. Congratulations to all!

New book chapter on psycholinguistic methods

Pliatsikas, C. and Marinis, T. (in press) Online psycholinguistic methods in second language acquisition research. To appear in Chapelle, C. (ed.) The Concise Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wiley

To access please use the contact form 

Abstract

Second language acquisition (SLA) research has traditionally used paper-and-pencil tasks, such as grammaticality judgment and completion tasks. In such tasks, participants usually have time to read the whole sentence, they can think and reflect about its form and meaning, and then make a conscious judgment about its grammaticality or how to complete it. This is why these tasks are called offline; that is, the information we get is after the participant has read the whole sentence and has had time to think about it. This is in contrast to online methods that measure how participants process sentences as they unfold word by word or phrase by phrase; that is, these methods measure how participants process sentences in real time. This entry focuses on widely used behavioral online methods, and will provide a short introduction to four such methods recently used in SLA research to address how second language (L2) learners process sentences in real time. These methods are: (a) word monitoring, (b) self-paced reading/listening, (c) cross-modal priming, and (d) self-paced listening with picture verification. Each method is described with examples from key L2 studies. This is followed by a section discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each of these methods. The final section provides a brief overview of eye-tracking, a behavioral method which is gaining popularity in the field, along with its advantages and disadvantages.

See you in Sidney!

 

 

I’m travelling to Australia for a couple of invited talks next week! Specifically, on Monday the 5th of November I’ll be presenting my Dynamic Restructuring Model for bilingualism-induced neuroplasticity at the Afternoon Colloquium of the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University. For more details, including a link for live streaming of my talk, check here.

Following that, on Tuesday the 6th I will be presenting the same model as part of the Neuroimaging Workshop of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, MacQuarie University. For more information about the workshop check here.

I’m really excited for both events (and for my first time in Australia)! See you there!

New PhD students in our lab, farewell to an alumnus, and new opportunities to join our School!

A very warm welcome to our new PhD recruits! Najla Alrwaita will conduct a study on diglossia in Saudi Arabia, Michal Kořenář will be investigating bilingualism and creativity, whereas Jia’en Yee will be looking at the effects of orthographic transparency in the bilingual brain! We are all very exciting to have them around in what promise to be very interesting research projects! See here for details

At the same time, (now Dr) Vincent DeLuca is leaving us for pastures new, specifically to start a postdoc at the University of Birmingham on bilingualism and the brain, following up nicely from his PhD work. Vince has been the first PhD student of the lab, and central to its creation and proliferation, so he will surely be missed (but he will be kept on speed dial, there are still tons of data to analyse!)

In the meantime, the Language, Development and Ageing research division of our School invites applications for a new round of PhD studentships. Here is the official announcement:

 

PhD Studentships in Language Sciences at the University of Reading

The School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading is inviting applicants for PhD studentships to work on topics within the Language, Development and Ageing Research Division. This research division conducts research in psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics, language development, bi-/multilingualism, and language disorders. We are looking for students interested in pursuing PhD projects along these broad themes. Successful applicants will have full access to facilities within the School, which include eye-tracking, TMS, EEG and MRI, and will become members of various labs and research centres across the School and university. This includes the Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics Lab and the Acquired Brain and Communication  Disorders Lab within the School, and the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism and the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics across the university. A number of PhD studentships are currently available for study beginning in October 2019, as described below.

SeNNS Doctoral Training Partnership

The University of Reading is part of the ESRC funded SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership which awards studentships for either 3-year PhD study, or combined MSc/PhD study involving a 1-year MSc followed by 3-year PhD. These studentships are open to UK and EU residents on a fees + yearly stipend basis (for UK residents) or a fees only basis (for EU residents). The final deadline for applications for these studentships is in January, but we encourage applicants to contact potential supervisors as soon as possible to discuss their projects.

University International Research Studentships The University of Reading also offers studentships to international (non-UK/EU) students. This year, up to seven International Research Studentships will be available across the university. These awards may be made on a fees + stipend basis, or on a fees-only basis. The deadline for applications for International Studentships is January 31st, 2019.

Further information on all schemes is available via the university’s Graduate School Website . Interested applicants should contact the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at pcls.pgr@reading.ac.uk to register their interest in applying. Interested applications should also contact potential supervisors at Reading (see staff list within the School here) to discuss their proposal and application.